At this year’s MLA conference, the ADE Executive Committee awarded Paul Lauter, Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of English, Emeritus at Trinity College (Connecticut), the Francis Andrew March Award, which honors exceptional service to the profession of English. The award is named for Francis March (1823–1911), professor of English at Lafayette College and the first professor of English in America. Lauter served as president of the American Studies Association and is the founding general editor of the influential Heath Anthology of American Literature. He is also the author or editor of several books, including From Walden Pond to Jurassic Park: Activism, Culture, and American Studies and, most recently, A History of American Working-Class Literature. He was one of the founding editors of the Feminist Press and of the journal Radical Teacher. Lauter has been an active member of the WCSA and co-wrote its constitution with Sherry Linkon.
Hard Ball Press, in collaboration with children’s book author Mark Torres, has donated 200 bilingual children’s books to the Puerto Rico Teachers Federation (FMPR). The seven titles, all picture books for young children, explore the kinds of social justice themes that families in Puerto Rico face every day, including fair wages (Joelito’s Big Decision, Jimmy’s Carwash Adventure), indigenous people’s rights and culture (Margarito’s Forest), gender equality (Hats Off For Gabbie!), and economic inequality (The Cabbage That Came Back). Mark’s book, Good Guy Jake teaches children how a union fights to reinstate a sanitation worker unfairly fired for taking toys from the trash that he repaired and gave to children in a local shelter for Christmas.
With so many books destroyed by the hurricane, the children in many schools in the San Juan area have enjoyed the books, including teenage students with learning disabilities. Hard Ball Press will be donating copies of all new children’s books as they come into print.
The Journal of Working-Class Studies Special Issue, The Poverty of Academia: Exploring the (Intersectional) Realities of Working Class Academics, published in December 2017, features essays from Kishonna L. Gray and Reshawna L. Chapple; Kim A. Case; Elizabeth Lee and Tonya Maynard; Emma Penney and Laura Lovejoy; Natalie Currie-Patterson and Kaitlyn Watson; Matthew Spokes; Nancy Aguirre; Diane Reynolds; A.M. Foiles Sifuentes; Sarah Prior; Emma Vossen, and others. Be sure to check out the book reviews as well!
Thank you to guest editors Reshawna L. Chapple, University of Central Florida; Kishonna L. Gray, Arizona State University; LaDonna Long, Roosevelt University; and Mia Ortiz, Bridgewater State University.
Check out our new Resources page for recently-published essays and organizations promoting the success of first-generation and working-class students.
Karen Gaffney, Professor of English at Raritan Valley Community College and author of the blog, Divided No Longer, has published Dismantling the Racism Machine:A Manual and Toolbox.
Here’s a description of the book from Routledge Press:
“While scholars have been developing valuable research on race and racism for decades, this work does not often reach the beginning college student or the general public, who rarely learn a basic history of race and racism. If we are to dismantle systemic racism and create a more just society, people need a place to begin. This accessible, introductory, and interdisciplinary guide can be one such place. Grounded in critical race theory, this book uses the metaphor of the Racism Machine to highlight that race is a social construct and that racism is a system of oppression based on invented racial categories. It debunks the false ideology that race is biological. As a manual, this book presents clear instructions for understanding the history of race, including whiteness, starting in colonial America, where the elite created a hierarchy of racial categories to maintain their power through a divide-and-conquer strategy. As a toolbox, this book provides a variety of specific action steps that readers can take once they have developed a foundational understanding of the history of white supremacy, a history that includes how the Racism Machine has been recalibrated to perpetuate racism in a supposedly “post-racial” era.”
Please take a look at recently published books related to the field of working-class studies. Full descriptions for each are available here.
Dr. Kim A. Case, Professor of Psychology at University of Houston-Clear Lake, published her essay “Insider Without: Journey across the Working-Class Academic Arc” in the most recent issue of the Journal of Working-Class Studies. In the article, which is available here, she applies intersectional theory in connecting personal experiences with existing working-class studies scholarship. In introducing a three-phase academic arc, she writes to “raise awareness of the invisible academic class culture which invalidates working-class ways of being and knowledge production.”
Dr. Case provides lots of useful, and free, resources on intersectional and privilege pedagogies at her website, here.
Working-Class Studies Association Steering Committee member Colby King, alongside colleague Dr. Laura Ramsey, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Bridgewater State University, presented a Faculty Plenary “Exploring Class and Gender in STEM” at the 2018 Winter Massachusetts PKAL Regional Network Meeting.
This session explored how gender and class shape students’ experiences in STEM fields and in particular, how the culture of STEM disciplines may be mismatched with the cultural expectations of women and working-class students, creating barriers to these students’ success and motivation in STEM. The session highlighted research, by each presenter and others, on gender and social class related to STEM education.
Visit the Awards page for information on how to submit
Our next conference is scheduled for June 6-9, 2018 and will be hosted by Center for the Study of Inequality and Social Justice at Stony Brook University. Click here for the Call for Papers. Proposals must be received by December 15, 2017.